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Where should Arroyo be detained?

/ 11:51 PM December 03, 2011

(Editor’s Note: We asked Filipinos across the country the question to get a sense of how they want former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to be treated while being tried for electoral sabotage, a nonbailable offense. They gave their answers before Judge Jesus Mupas ordered that she be transferred to Veterans Memorial Medical Center in Quezon City.)

Northern Luzon

‘Keep her in ordinary jail’

“It is just right that GMA [Arroyo’s initial] be detained in an ordinary jail because of the wrongdoing attributed to her. There should be no VIP treatment when it comes to crime. All must be treated equally. There should be fairness when it comes to justice.” – Bernadette Macalintal, 30, housewife, Baguio City


“I prefer house arrest, if she indeed violated the law so she can have her  dignity. She did good things when she was President.” – Nilda Moro, 47, manicurist, Uyugan, Batanes

“She should be held in her house in Lubao so she can recover fast. She can face her cases squarely once she is healthy.” – Rodolfo Serrano, 45, cigarette vendor, Guagua, Pampanga

“The government should allow GMA to stay in the hospital or in her house either in Pampanga or in Quezon City because her condition is pitiful. She is sick and her condition might worsen if she is kept in jail. We should show to the world that our government is not heartless.” – Manuel Yumul, 31, farm helper, Mabalacat, Pampanga

“GMA must be placed under house arrest to at least give her a little respect as former President. Whether she’s guilty or not depends on the court. So let’s give her a little respect.” – Leo Melchor, 32, passenger van driver, Ilagan, Isabela

‘She deserves to be with Lolong’

“She deserves to be with the biggest crocodile, ‘Lolong,’ in that improvised jail in Agusan. But she also deserves due process.” – Jason Balag-ey, 25,  teacher’s assistant, Baguio

“They should follow what they did then to former President Erap Estrada. He was allowed to be detained in a government hospital and was later transferred to his rest house in Tanay, Rizal. She should not be kept in a facility where common criminals are held because that’s too degrading for a former President.” – Ronald Maambong, 28, security guard, Cabanatuan City

“If she is really sick, then she should be detained in a hospital. But if not, she should stay in prison because she has to pay for her sins against the Filipino people. She is accused of plunder and electoral sabotage.” – Zenaida Zulueta, 34, house helper, Calasiao, Pangasinan


“GMA should be put in an ordinary cell like other criminals. There should be no special treatment for her.” – Sydney Canlas, 37, tricycle driver, Olongapo City

Southern Luzon

NEW BILIBID Prison in Muntinlupa LYN RILLON

‘Send her to Bilibid’

“We want GMA detained in a jail facility. She has to pay the price for her wrongdoing and it is the only way the Filipino people can be vindicated. She must suffer her fate.” – Ruth Ann Portento and Cecelle Villavicencio, both 16 and first year college students of Santa Cruz Institute, Marinduque

“She should be sent to Muntinlupa (New Bilibid Prison) considering the gravity of what she had done. She never was a president anyway.” – Rolly Acuña, 45, FX Tamaraw driver in Bacoor, Cavite

“She should be jailed in a regular cell like all others facing charges.” – John Diaz Francisco, 46, farmer, El Nido, Palawan

“Those accusing Gloria are conditioning the minds of people to become vindictive. Even some priests are becoming vindictive and that discourages me from going to church. This is because I still believe in forgiveness as one of the greatest values that the Church should preach. What will happen if all of us will just wish for the jailing of presidents? Will we do the same to P-Noy after his term? – Reynario Alonzo, 26, taho vendor, Camalig, Albay

‘Hospital arrest for her’

THE AFP Medical Center in Quezon City. NIÑO JESUS ORBETA

“I would rather see Gloria under hospital arrest because if she is in jail that would be a big shame for our country. My neighbor, who has a son in Saudi, complained that when Erap (the former President) was put in jail he was ridiculed.” – Soledad Reforsado, 54, vendor, Oas, Albay

“She should be jailed at the Southern Police District so she could experience punishment for her wrongdoing.” – Henry Masongsong, tricycle driver, Calapan City

“She should stay in her house (La Vista) because she is sick.” – Edwin Landoni, a Hanunuo Mangyan and port worker in Mindoro.

“Arroyo should be jailed at the orthopedic hospital since she is suffering from a bone-related disease. That would be for her own good so she could recover physically.” – Victor Dizon, 52, businessman, Los Baños, Laguna

“She should be at the Southern Police District to stress that no one is above the law. Power does not last and Filipinos are no longer sympathetic to her.” – Jaypee Sarmiento, 37, housewife, Sta. Cruz, Laguna

“Arroyo should not be given special treatment when detained in a police cell. There are available hospitals anyway if she needs medication. Aren’t they the ones who made the law? They should obey the law they themselves made so people would follow. The law should be fair.” – Augurio Rejesus, 40, dormitory caretaker

The Visayas

A ROOM prepared for Arroyo by the Southern Police District in Makati. MARIANNE BERMUDEZ

‘In SPD room’

“Just like any other criminal, the rule of law must apply. Ergo, she should be detained at the Southern Police District (SPD). Remember, there are many detainees who are suffering from more serious illnesses but are in jail for lesser offenses.” – Al Allema, 43, civil engineer, Basey, Samar

“She should be detained at Veterans Memorial Medical Center. Former President Joseph Estrada was jailed in the same place. I think she will be treated well by the hospital staff if she is jailed there.” – James Morales, businessman, Binalbagan, Negros Occidental

“She should be detained in the same place where other people who committed offenses against the Filipino people are jailed.” – Edgar Jerez, 50, government employee, Bacolod City

“I find no other place for her but the SPD cell.” – Ramon Silverio, 51, businessman, Bacolod

“She should stay at the Philippine Orthopedic Center. That hospital is where she deserves to be confined considering that she is suffering from a bone ailment.” – Doms Pagliawan, 45, college professor, Tacloban City

“I would like her to be kept in a normal jail. If she were placed under house arrest, it would be as if nothing happened to her. She is not bedridden so she shouldn’t be confined in a hospital. A normal jail will do. So what if she is a former President?” – Choi Relampagos, 31, BPO account team leader, Cebu City

‘A dignified place’

THE GATE of the Arroyo residence at No. 14 Badjao St. in La Vista, Quezon City. JOSEPH AGCAOILI

“She should be sent home and kept under house arrest. She was our former President, after all. She deserves a dignified place to stay in.” – Genry Christian Gabayan, 25, human resources head, Talisay City

“House arrest is unacceptable because she will almost be free in her house.” – Joebert Herida, 41, vendor, Iloilo City

“She should be detained in a hospital because she has several ailments. How can she answer all the allegations against her if she dies? If she gets better, then she should be detained in  the cell of the Southern Police District.” – Ruel Borres, 44, barangay tanod, Cebu City

“She should be jailed at the police station. The law should be impartial and there should be equal treatment whether the detainee is rich or poor. She should also experience what we poor people deal with.” – Wilbert de Monteverde, 38, pedicab driver, Iloilo City


OFFICIALS inspect the presidential suite at Veterans Memorial Medical Center in Quezon City. Judge Jesus Mupas of the Pasay Regional Trial Court has ordered that former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo be transferred to Veterans Memorial from St. Luke’s Medical Center in Taguig City. MARIANNE BERMUDEZ

‘Veterans hospital will do’

“Veterans (Memorial Medical Center) Hospital will do. Because in Munti (Muntinlupa Penitentiary) where I stayed before, there are no facilities that can be used in case her bone ailment deteriorates.” – Danny Guillen, political detainee under Marcos regime, chair of Kabisig Foundation, Davao City

“Since GMA cries political persecution, she should join the hundreds of political detainees languishing in jail, many of whom were arrested on  trumped-up charges during her term.” – Arnold Alamon, 35, college professor, Cagayan de Oro

“House arrest for GMA for humanitarian reasons. Her conscience will disturb her more than any form of human punishment.” – Fely Plaza, 62, retired librarian, Cagayan de Oro

“Given that she’s an ex-President and the precedent made in Erap’s case, house arrest would be a reasonable scenario.”

– Odette Lagunilla, 35, demand manager, Del Monte Philippines, Cagayan de Oro

“Should that question still be asked? In Bilibid!” – Mariedes Panganiban, 31, zone manager, Avon Cosmetics, Cagayan de Oro

“In jail, of course, because it would be unfair to ordinary Filipino citizens if there’s special treatment.” – Jairah Fortun, 18, student, Agusan National High School, Butuan City

“To accord her due respect befitting a former President, I would prefer house arrest.” – Oliver Bulang, 29, lawyer, Cabadbaran City, Agusan del Norte

“There’s no other option but jail to show that the laws are applied to all, either you’re poor or rich.” – Marvin Curilan, 33, distributor development executive, Butuan

“She should be put in jail. She is no different from other criminals.” – Rolly Averilla, 25, security guard, Digos City

“She should stay where Erap stayed.” – Alex Galvez, 33, mango sprayer, Magsaysay, Davao del Sur

Metro Manila

‘Where Morong 43 were detained’

“She should be detained where the Morong 43 were detained before. So she, herself, would experience being away from her family as well as the pain such situation brings,” – Kathy June Fiel, freelance writer, Quezon City

“Detain her at her home in La Vista Subdivision in Quezon City. I prefer that she gets well so she can face the charges. I’m not pro-GMA. I just want justice to prevail. She should appear in court.” – Rene Sandajan, 59, photojournalist, Paco, Manila

“Government hospital. Initially, I was thinking of the SPD detention center as her rightful place. But I guess it’s my soft side wanting to give her the benefit of a little more comfort, if there is, in a government hospital. This doesn’t mean though that I am accepting her health reason, alibi, hook line and sinker. Human rights and a little consideration.” – Den Sagun, nutrition advisor, Marikina

“She is sick. She could be better taken care of in her house, unlike in government hospitals or in a detention facility of the Southern Police District. She can’t stay in government jails… She might not be taken care of,” – Jonard Chan, 21, technician, Malabon

Interviews by Juliet Cataluña, Villamor Visaya Jr., Vincent Cabreza, Yolanda Sotelo, Desiree Caluza and Gabriel Cardinoza, Inquirer Northern Luzon; Tonette Orejas, Jun Malig, Robert Gonzaga and Anselmo Roque, Inquirer Central Luzon; Rey M. Nasol, Delfin T. Mallari Jr., Redempto Anda, Madonna T. Virola, Gerald Gene Querubin and Maricar Cinco, Inquirer Southern Luzon; Carla P. Gomez, Joey A. Gabieta, Jason Baguia, Edison delos Angeles and Nestor P. Burgos Jr., Visayas Bureau; Cai Panlilio, Dennis Jay C. Santos, Orlando B. Dinoy, Franklin M. Caliguid, Inquirer Mindanao; and Jeannette I. Andrade, Kristine Felisse Mangunay, Niña Calleja and Julie Aurelio in Manila

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